Building the Miniature World of Barbie| Framestore

Barbie demanded contemporary VFX techniques to realise Greta Gerwig’s unique vision, drawing on classic soundstage musicals of the 50s and 60s. Achieving this required close collaboration across crafts to deliver invisible effects, a testament to the artistry involved. To help Gerwig and DP Rodrigo Prieto map Barbie Land’s physical landscape, production VFX supervisor Glen Pratt deployed previsualization, LED, virtual scouting & production techniques to navigate the logistics of the soundstage, plan key shots, camera angles, story beats and gather detailed lighting reference. To build a world full of life, a huge number of handcrafted miniatures and vintage Barbie toys were scanned and digitally recreated for use in panoramic vistas and downtown street scenes. The iconic aesthetic of Sarah Greenwood’s production design provided a strong frame of reference for the art department and visdev teams at Framestore to concept and build many more CG miniatures in post production to populate set extensions, backdrops and full CG shots. From Barbie’s Neighbourhood, the Pink House, Real World This Way, Beach Drive and Weird Barbie’s house, the strong direction set by the miniatures team saw these digital builds blend seamlessly with the cinematography and stunning set pieces in the joyful final film. Barbie features 1300 VFX shots, with Framestore VFX supervisor Francois Dumoulin leading the team delivering close to 800 shots focused on Barbie Land. SFX supervisor Mark Holt’s spectacular transitions handed over to Victor Müller, VFX supervisor at UPP who took care of Venice Beach and those car chase sequences in the real world. FuseFX handled the Mattel HQ scenes with Chicken Bone, Powerhouse and Lola contributing too. Thank you to all Warner Bros. Pictures and Greta Gerwig for having us on this incredible journey.

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